One of Taito's coolest shooters just appeared on the iPhone. Too bad it's a waste of money.
Taito's vertical shooter, RayForce, debuted in 1993. To put that in perspective, I graduated eighth grade (I'm 33), Bill Clinton had just stepped into the Oval Office and Jurassic Park was the top grossing movie.
This was also a time when gamers worshipped shoot-em-ups by obsessively pumping quarters into arcade machines in the desperate hope of beating high scores. Doing so required cat-like reflexes and acute memorization of bullet and boss patterns. These games didn't reward you with princesses and gold coins. They pounded you into submission, suggesting the developers took sick pleasure in making people suffer.
RayForce is such a game, the old one hit and your dead chestnut that often results in blistered fingers and broken controllers, and now it's available on the iPhone.
The story is fairly worthless, something about an artificial intelligence running amok and destroying humans, with you being THE ONE person that can stop it.
That said, prepare for seven areas of pain, levels filled with enemies that unleash attack after attack, forcing you to weave between a sea of bullets.
On the positive side, you can play these stages out of sequence. Taito was even kind enough to create an exclusive iPhone mode where the touch controls (slide to guide the spacecraft) are significantly more responsive than those found in the abysmal Arcade mode. You may as well sign your own death warrant playing that, and the same goes for using Manual fire. Just go with Auto. You have enough mayhem to worry about.
To that end, this game's insane. Enemies appear below, giving you a chance to lock-on and destroy the buggers before they float upwards. Meanwhile, bad guys appear at all angles, while bosses take up a sizable chunk of screen real estate.
It's a quality port, at least when it comes to iPhone mode, but is it worth $11.99? Yes, you read correctly. Taito charges $11.99 for a 19-year-old shooter, one that normally gets passed aside for better titles in the genre, like Ikaruga and Radiant Silvergun. Twelve bucks for a game that doesn't feature full-screen iPad support. That's blows my mind.
Had RayForce been $0.99 or even $3.99, I would've recommended it, since the game has plenty of fans and takes me back to the 90s. The price, sadly, is a huge sticking point, and quite frankly, you can pick up plenty of better games for less.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad.Requires iOS 4.0 or later.
What's Hot: Modified port of the arcade classic, you can play levels out of sequence, will definitely test your gaming skills, lots of mayhem.
What's Not: Ridiculously overpriced, no full screen iPad support, Arcade mode features subpar controls.